4 Ways To Tell If Your Partner's "I Love You" Is Actually Genuine

by Alison Segel
Studio Firma/Stocksy

Falling in love is an incredible, magical thing. There's no better feeling in the world, right? Ugh. Then why am I so skeptical about it? Sometimes, it's hard to know for sure if your partner loves you, or if "I love you" is something they just think they need to say at a certain part of a relationship. I want you to feel it, not to just be trying to hit some dating milestone.

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time believing that anything good is happening to me. Someone can give me a compliment or tell me the nicest thing in the world, and I'll immediately overlook it. Maybe it's because of years of breakups or low self-esteem, but when I hear the words "I love you," it's nearly impossible for me to actually take them in.

And that's because, to me, 'I love you' isn't just a phrase — it's an action. It's something you do to your partner, for your partner, and with your partner, not just something you tell them. I can tell someone I care about them, but if I'm lying to them, disrespecting them, or not showing up for them, then it doesn't mean anything. To me, those words need to be sacred and meaningful.

So I asked Meredith Golden, dating coach and online dating expert, how to tell if your partner's "I love you" is actually genuine. Because if you're gonna say it, you better act like it.

1. They Tolerate Your Friends And Family That They May Not Like

Does your partner absolutely hate your best friend, but they're willing to hang out with them anyway? Then, most likely, they are very, very into you.

According to Golden, a person who truly loves you will "take one for your team." She continues, "He responds to texts and phone calls from your parents or siblings, even if he doesn't like them. And he might not want to sit through a couples dinner with your best friend's husband, who is a bore, but he does it because it makes you happy."

So if your significant other doesn't mind inconveniencing themselves once in a while for your own happiness, then you can bet that they meant it when they said, "I love you."

2. They're Thoughtful

A partner who cares about you will anticipate your needs, and then do what they can to meet them. I once dated a guy who would make me a cup of coffee every day when I woke up. It was a small gesture, but it meant a lot. He would go out of his way to make sure I was happy from the moment my day started, and it was an indication that my emotions mattered to him.

Golden offers some other examples, like, "if he notices when you are in the shower that there isn't a clean towel and gets you one on his own," or if "he checks in on you during the day."

A thoughtful partner is a partner who is in love. So if you find that your significant other brings home small gifts, sends you flowers, gets you coffee, remembers dates and anniversaries, recalls old conversations, or checks in on you during the day, then this means that they're invested in the relationship.

3. They're About More Than Sex

Any intimate, serious, emotionally-vulnerable relationship is about way more than hooking up. According to Golden, if you're with a partner who genuinely loves you, then they're "not always about sex, but they initiate snuggles as well." I once had a "boyfriend" (I use this term loosely) who would hang out with me for a few hours, have sex with me, and then leave. He'd never cuddle or hang out, and I slowly realized I was just a booty call to him, and he only decided to call me his girlfriend to make me feel better.

Someone who truly cares about you not only wants to please you physically, but they want you to feel safe and cared about emotionally as well — and this includes cuddling. So if your partner loves being the big spoon any chance they get, then there's a good chance that "I love you" was serious.

4. They Think About The Future

Golden says that someone who truly loves you "talks about your future together, not like where you are eating dinner next week, but a vacation three to six months out." This means they'll commit to going to weddings, family events, vacations, and even ultimately make plans to move in with you.

If someone really cares about you, then they'll want to pin you down eventually. They will make plans and imagine your future life together. They don't want a future without you in it.

"I love you" isn't just a bunch of words. There should be actions that go along with it. Telling someone you love them is one thing, but making them feel loved is another. As Golden says, "It's the little things in a relationship that add up. Actions speak louder than words."

Next time you want to figure out if your partner actually cares about you, head into the shower and forget your towel. If they bring you one, you know your answer.

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